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New York Police brutality: ProPublica releases searchable database of complaints against active-duty police officers who

NYPD1Disciplinary records of NYPD officers who committed police brutality, abuse or misconduct have been kept secret from the public until last month. Last June, Governor Cuomo signed a bill to repeal section 50-A of the New York Civil Rights Law that was protecting police officers and firefighters who committed misconduct by keeping their record hidden from the public (see previous blog).

After that law was repealed, Pro Publica obtained all the records from every active-duty officer who had at least one substantiated allegation against them between September 1985 and January 2020. With these records, Pro Publica created a fully searchable database. The database can be searched by officer name, badge number or by precinct. The database can be searched here.

A total of 3,996 officers who logged a total of 12,056 complaints are listed in the database

Most officers found in the database usually have not one complaint but a history of complaints. A complaint often comes with several allegations against the police officer. ProPublica found 7,636 allegations against officers using excessive or unnecessary force and 20,292 allegations of abuse of authority. Among the allegations of excessive force by a NYPD officer, physical force was the most common with 4,849 allegations, followed by gun pointed with 628 allegations,  pepper spray with 324 allegations, nightstick used as club with 260 allegations, chokehold with 244 allegations, push or shove with 178 allegations, hit against inanimate object with 176 allegations, punch and or kick with 114 allegations. Other less common allegations of excessive force also found in the database included but were not limited to nonlethal restraining device, Handcuff too tight, using gun, radio or flashlight as club. The most common abuse of authority was “stop” with 2,300 allegations followed by “search” with 22,047 allegations and “frisk” with 1,926 allegations, premises entered and/or searched with 1,555 allegations, refusal to provide name or shield number with 1,483 allegations, vehicle search with 1,405 allegations, threat of arrest with 1,370 allegations, vehicle stops with 1,094 allegations and more.  The records also contain 4,677 allegations of discourtesy during which an officer was rude or behaved profanely toward a civilian. Among 753 other allegations of offensive language, 307 were related to race and 115 to gender.

Read more here